8:26 PM EDT, September 6, 2012
The Harford County Teen Court was piloted in the spring of 2011 and is approaching its second year of operation as a diversion program that provides first-time, non-violent youth offenders with a second chance. The program follows a restorative justice model in which it is determined what is best for the respondent, the victim and the community at large.
Offenders agree to participate in the Teen Court program, and if successful, avoid becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. The Teen Court program is overseen by the Harford County Department of Community Services Office of Drug Control Policy and the Local Management Board in partnership with the Department of Juvenile Services, State's Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Office and Harford County Public Schools.
Harford County District Court Judge Susan Hazlett presides over the court. The jury is comprised of teens from throughout the county. For the teen jurors, this is a volunteer experience and a chance to see firsthand how the criminal justice system works. With the guidance of adult volunteers, the jury develops a ruling for the offending youth, such as writing an apology letter, performing community service hours or serving on the teen jury in the future.
Teen Court Training for youth and adult volunteers is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 13 at 4:30 p.m., at the Harford County District Court, 2 S. Bond St. in Bel Air. To register for the Teen Court Training session on Sept. 13, contact Katie Badders at 410-638-3333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teen Court is held the second Thursday of the month in the evening.